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Flood threat keeps trucking across South

I-10 corridor under flood watches from Louisiana to Florida

Tropical Depression Nicholas will continue to slow down truckers this week as it gets stuck on the Gulf Coast.

Nicholas made landfall early Tuesday morning along the Texas coast as a Category 1 hurricane, knocking out power to hundreds of thousands of people and flooding portions of the state. Winds have weakened since landfall, but the flood threat remains for parts of the South.

Related: Roundup: Ida’s impact on the supply chain; drivers needed

As of 8 a.m. Wednesday, Nicholas was centered near the Texas-Louisiana border — not far from its landfall point — but most of the rain was east of the center and will stay to the east.

Daily rainfall records for Sep. 14 were set at the following locations:

Port Arthur, Texas: 5.2 inches.
Lafayette, Louisiana: 4.03 inches.
Lake Charles, Louisiana: 2.48 inches.
New Orleans: 1.88 inches.

Several more inches of rain are possible Wednesday through Thursday, with fairly widespread totals of 4 to 8 inches in southeastern Louisiana, southern parts of Mississippi and Alabama, as well as western Florida. Some places could see 10 to 20 inches. The National Weather Service has flash flood watches posted for these areas.

These impacts will lead to freight flow disruptions that may last a week in the hardest-hit areas. Additionally, onshore and offshore energy operations in the region could be disrupted.

The rain will also delay cleanup efforts in areas hit by Hurricane Ida just two weeks ago. As of 8 a.m. ET Wednesday, almost 78,000 customers still had no electricity in Louisiana, most of them in the southeastern part of the state where Ida made landfall. This is based on reports from PowerOutage.US.

(Map: FreightWaves SONAR Critical Events. Tropical Depression Nicholas, Sep. 15, 2021, 8 a.m. ET. To learn more about FreightWaves SONAR, click here.)

Despite the heavy rain, state departments of transportation showed no major interstate closures in the flash flood watch areas as of early Wednesday morning.

Besides possible flooding, Nicholas could spin up a few tornadoes that may be rain-wrapped and difficult to see.

Rainfall from the eventual remnants of Nicholas could spread to the Florida Peninsula, in addition to the Tennessee Valley, by this weekend.

Related: Ida’s impact: Supply chain updates, Tuesday, Aug. 31

Major lanes of concern

• Interstate 10 from Lafayette to Marianna, Florida.
• Interstate 12 from Baton Rouge to Slidell, Louisiana.• Interstate 49 from Alexandria to Lafayette.
• Interstate 55 from McComb, Mississippi, to New Orleans.
• Interstate 59 from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, to New Orleans.
• U.S. Highway 90 from Mermentau, Louisiana, to Chattahoochee, Florida.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

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Nick Austin

Nick is a meteorologist with 20 years of forecasting and broadcasting experience. He was nominated for a Midsouth Emmy for his coverage during a 2008 western Tennessee tornado outbreak. He received his Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from Florida State University, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Management from the Georgia Tech. Nick is a member of the American Meteorological Society and National Weather Association. As a member of the weather team at WBBJ-TV in Jackson, Tennessee, Nick was nominated for a Mid-South Emmy for live coverage of a major tornado outbreak in February 2008. As part of the weather team at WRCB-TV in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Nick shared the Chattanooga Times-Free Press Best of the Best award for “Best Weather Team” eight consecutive years.